NY Judge Delia Carson has a well-earned reputation for being tough and uncompromising. She and NY District Attorney Sam Dietrich enjoy an ongoing struggle in the courtroom. When her mother in Texas, who she has avoided for 20 years due to harrowing memories, suffers a heart attack, her battle with the DA is put on hold.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Marshall North became a single parent abruptly, leaving his career until he could get his 16-year-old daughter Billie Jo safely off to college. Now he has returned to Texas looking for the answers to several 20-year-old questions like: Why was he accused of raping and impregnating Delia Carson, and did Ray John Carson really commit suicide?

Twenty years ago, Marsh was the town bad boy and Delia the daughter of its most powerful rancher. Despite their differences, Marsh and Delia fell deeply in love. Teenage Delia was trapped in a nightmare, and her only hope lay with Marsh; but in the end he would be unable to rescue her from her hell. The tragic events that led to her stepfather's death and Delia leaving town will always lie between them. Now Marsh is demanding the truth.

Joan Johnston expands her talents into mainstream romance with I PROMISE, a powerful, potent novel that peers deep into the sometimes twisted relationships that once destroyed a promising love. (June, 368 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith